The Labour Party has attacked the coalition government over delays to the 4G spectrum auctions, claiming that its failure to back Ofcom's first proposal put forward in March 2011 is costing the country £1m a day.
The complaints come after Ofcom unveiled its second proposal for the auction following the threat of legal challenges from mobile operators, notably O2, which forced it to revise the initial document.
Shadow minister for the media, Helen Goodman, said this delay caused by the government's refusal to stand by Ofcom was damaging the UK economy and citizens.
"We had the auction ready to go in 2010 but this government decided that it could not give Ofcom the back-up to go ahead with the sale of 4G," she said.
"Consumers need better mobile coverage, particularly in rural areas and the country needs more money. It is disappointing that it has taken the government 18 months to get on with the auction."
Goodman added it was "shameful" that the delays would mean the UK is one of the last nations left in Europe to roll out 4G networks.
"In their new Communications Green Paper the secretary of state Jeremy Hunt needs to make sure Ofcom has all the powers it needs to regulate for a competitive market, and not be held up by threats of legal challenges from vested interests," she added.
Ofcom's revised proposals were also slammed by operator Everything Everywhere, which lost the right to a guaranteed portion of mobile spectrum that it had been promised in the first document.
However, Conservative MP Rory Stewart heralded the increase in coverage obligations from 95 to 98 per cent that Ofcom introduced as a vital boost for those living in the UK's most rural areas.
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